No. 552

Taylor Adams was visiting the zoo with the rest of her eighth-grade class. They were stopped in front of the fossa cage.

“Fossas are small, weasel-like predators that come from Madagascar,” said the zoo guide who was leading the tour. “You might not see them in their enclosure today, though, because they are nocturnal.”

Taylor raised her hand. “That’s what you said about the zebras, and also the snakes.”

Billy Jansen spoke up. “And the crocodiles, and the tigers.”

“We’ve only seen squirrels and pigeons,” Taylor complained.

The guide handled the questions nervously. “Well, you see, children, many animals sleep in the daytime, and we don’t like to bother them. It sometimes makes them sick.”


At the other end of the zoo, in the main office, the director and his assistant watched the exchange on security cameras.

“We can’t keep this up forever,” said the assistant. “We need to actually get some of the animals we say we’ve got.”

“That’s expensive,” said the director. “This will work, so long as we don’t open nights.”